What are the most common office injuries?
In Queensland, office occupations are often underestimated when it comes to an assessment of work risk. Secretaries, administrative and support staff are often assumed to be in a safer work environment compared to factory workers or miners.
Has this ever happened to you? Do you feel that your office injury becomes undermined simply because you are put in a completely unrealistic comparison alongside the military, mining or farming professions?
This misconception often makes an office injury accident claim under WorkCover QLD a little more complicated when it comes to assessing proper damages and medical treatment for an office worker who has been injured during the course of their employment.
Yet, while the type of risks each profession may face will be different, office workers are still exposed to areas of risk that can still be serious or even life changing.
The very nature of busy areas such as the Gold Coast or Brisbane contribute a lot of stress to the office and accompanied by poor office safety policy, a number of issues can arise:
Before you lift something in the office, STOP! Simply looking at that stack of papers overhead or that box on the shelf is not enough to determine how heavy it is. There have been many accidents where an office worker tried to lift an object, only to be injured because the object was too heavy.
Back and neck injuries are the most common, but head injuries can also arise if a heavy item falls on someone from a height.
Workplace training programs and restrictions on heavy lifting are good starts to remedying this situation. Lifting with your legs instead of your back is one of the techniques that may be invaluable to preventing injury.
Back & Neck Injuries
Technology has brought us many wonders. Unfortunately, prolonged computer usage is not one of them. If a computer screen is set too high, it can force workers to maintain their neck in the same position for an extended duration.
Neck muscles can soon become cramped, sore or even inflamed. The resulting sprains and strains on the neck can be a difficult toll on a worker’s ability to remain productive throughout the day.
Poor ergonomic posture and lack of stretching during the course of the work day is also a major contribution to office chair back injuries. Sitting on a chair all day puts pressure on back muscles that can lead to back and spinal pain, as well as chronic stiffness.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time may cause the spinal discs to compress and cramp, as well as cause hip inflexibility. This further aggravates the stress levels in the lower back.
Back and neck injuries are one of the most disputed issues in WorkCover claims, especially for prolonged medical treatment.
Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
Constant, repetitive motions can put stress on tendons and ligaments that can lead to inflammation and pain. This can result in a number of issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis or tennis elbow.
Do not underestimate the severity of repetitive stress injuries. Even an injury such as this can be debilitating for employees and lead to serious financial difficulties if a worker is unable to maintain their productivity in the office.
Eyestrain from staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to eye fatigue and blurry vision that may last for an extended amount of time. If blurry vision is not addressed, this can lead to further risks, especially if they are driving.
The hustle and bustle of busy cities in Brisbane and the Gold Coast increase this risk.
It is important to set your monitor to comfortable settings throughout the day to mitigate this effect.
Slip & Fall Injuries
Loose carpets, power cables and other falling risks are almost a certainty in the office environment without proper safety guidelines and change.
The potential for injury in these accidents varies from a nominal musculoskeletal sprain to a traumatic brain injury such as if the person where to fall and land on their head.
The busy nature of an office can lead to high amounts of stress that become worse if they are not addressed early. Stress can eventually build into depression or can make workers more careless and susceptible to other risks.
A good work/life balance is essential to deal with this issue, as well as maintaining a healthy relationship with friends and family.
What are the responsibilities of my employer?
Employers have a duty of care to ensure that the work area is safe for their employees. Some of the things that they should be doing include:
- Undertaking a job safety analysis to assess the risks found in job duties of workers.
- Provide an appropriate and detailed training and guidance on manual handling and how to otherwise safely carry out work based on the results of the job safety analysis.
- Creating a policy that encourages office workers to only move heavy equipment with assistance.
- Educate staff of high risk activities involved with manual handling and the risk of injury associated with lifting excessive weights, reaching, lifting things away from the body, weights that shift (like liquids), overhead lifting and twisting, etc.
- Create a policy that restricts lifting heavy items above shoulder height.
- Encouraging a flexible work environment where possible such as allowing employers to change duties so that they are not exposed to the same repetitive tasks using the same muscles for long periods of time.
- Encourage employees to make multiple trips at reduced load weight.
- Regularly checking, monitoring and supervising staff for adherence to safety policy.
- Providing adequate time to sufficiently and safely complete worker duties.
Are you an office worker who has been injured in an accident?
The office worker stigma is a very real and potentially challenging aspect of workers compensation, especially if the injury is debilitating and preventing employment.
Many workers experience worry about losing their job after they have been injured in an accident. It is in these moments of vulnerability that people should talk with someone they can trust.
Workers compensation can lead to feelings of isolation from the workplace, especially if a claim is denied or if you feel that you are not getting the medical care you need.
East Coast Injury Lawyers can help. All you have to do is take advantage of a free, no obligation initial consultation so you can speak to one of our accredited specialists in personal injury and tell your story. We will provide you with free initial advice to help you better understand your legal rights with no risk to yourself or your family whatsoever.
Simply call us at 1300 720 544 or fill in our free case review form today.